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Pittsburgh Area To Get Pilot Broadband Power Line Program

The latest test pilot for broadband over power line (BPL) is scheduled to roll out next month in Monroeville in suburban Pittsburgh under the auspices of Duquesne Broadband, a joint venture of DQE Communications and BPL Global.

Partnering with Duquesne Light’s subsidiary DQE Communications will be wireless transmitter Amperion and BPL Global, a Pittsburgh-based provider of BPL technologies and services for power line communications. The project was unveiled Thursday.

BPL projects are being installed across the nation in small pilots to work out technology kinks while regulatory agencies attempt to settle differences with ham operators who maintain the BPL technology interferes with their radio transmissions.

“The Duquesne Broadband deployment in Monroeville will become a showcase for this technology, and puts us among a small network of cities deploying a BPL model in the United States,” said Keith Schaefer, BPL Global CEO, in a statement. “We are at the forefront of launching a new technology that has the potential to be an important data, voice and video communication link to homes and businesses.”

BPL technology is seen by many as a potential competitor to cable modem and DSL broadband technologies, which currently account for nearly all consumer broadband in the U.S. Amperion has rolled out the technology in several cities. DQE Communications Network provides fiber optic wiring in the Pittsburgh region while Amperion supplies the “last mile” connection using power lines and Wi-Fi to reach into subscriber homes.